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“There are 3 holes down there?!” Sexual Anatomy 101

By Leslie Massicotte, Teens Climb High Coordinator

**Content warning that this post includes drawings of sexual anatomy.

If the title quote is any indication, a lot of folks aren’t getting the education they need about their sexual and reproductive anatomy.

Understanding your own body and knowing the terminology of your body parts are super important for experiencing pleasure, encouraging positive body self esteem, and promoting mutually pleasurable, consensual, and fun experiences with sexual partners. We need to know about our parts in order to talk about them and have (safe, healthy, consensual) fun with them.

So….here are some diagrams to help you learn about different sexual and reproductive systems and to understand the function of all your parts.

Note that these diagrams are EXAMPLES. Bodies are supposed to look different and it’s ok if yours doesn’t match these ones exactly. Body diversity is totally normal and wonderful.

Some folks have penises and testicles and they are typically assigned “male” at birth:

Some folks have vulvas and ovaries and they are typically assigned “female” at birth:

Some folks are born with genitalia that are neither female nor male or include some aspects of both. These folks are called “intersex.” Intersex folks are about as common as redheads!

Intersex individuals can have variant chromosomes, hormones, or genitalia so sometimes their differences are obvious by looking at their external sexual anatomy and other times, the differences are chemical and invisible.

Many doctors and families insist on performing surgeries on intersex babies to make their genitals fit more traditional understandings of male and female genitals. However, these surgeries are medically unncessary and many intersex folks advocate for being allowed to exist in the bodies they were born with. (Check out the Intersex Justice Project to learn more!)

This diagram shows someone with congenital adrenal hypoplasia (CAH), one type of the many varieties of intersex.

Interested in learning more? Check out this video by intersex youth and this website with tons of great articles about your body.

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